Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Sprinkler extinguishes flat fire

Edinburgh Way, Harlow
12/10/2021 @ 10:23
Incident Number: 154112
In attendance: 2 x Harlow, 1 x Waltham Abbey, 1 x Epping

Firefighters were called to a fire in Harlow this morning, when a candle caused a bin to set alight in a fourth-storey flat.

Automatic smoke alarms alerted crews to a fire in a block of flats on Edinburgh way at 10:23am. On arrival, firefighters confirmed that the fire was caused by a candle which had been extinguished but had not cooled down before it was discarded into a bin.

The woman had left the flat to take her rubbish out when she heard the alarm going off. Fortunately, the sprinkler system extinguished the fire and damage to the property was minimal, with just a small scald mark left on the wall.

Crew Manager, Jonathan Allen, Harlow Fire Station, said:

"This incident shows how important it is to make sure candles are fully cooled before disposing of them. 

"This week is National Candle Safety week, and with winter around the corner, people will be using candles more. We encourage you to take a look at all of our safety advice to make sure candles set the mood, not a fire."

Residents followed the building's stay-put policy, meaning nobody was evacuated.

Crews confirmed that the fire was out by 10:50am.

When burning candles, please remember: 

  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away materials that mat catch fire – like curtains
  • Children should not be left alone with lit candles
  • Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re completely out at night
  • Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimming, matches and debris at all times
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, scooting and excessive dripping.
  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring
  • Ensure candles have cooled completely before you dispose of them
  • Don’t move candles once they are lit
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring

Could you be an on-call firefighter?

Waltham Abbey's on-call firefighters live or work within 5 minutes of the station and are paid to protect their community.

If you live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be an on-call firefighter too.

Find out more at

Site by Pingala Media